tv Washington Journal Jason Delisle and Mark Huelsman CSPAN January 31, 2019 12:05pm-12:29pm EST
kennedy in 1994. utah also has a new member of ben mcadamsemocrat now represents the state's fourth district. the former mayor of salt lake county is the only democrat in utah's congressional delegation. new congress, new leaders. watch it all on c-span. free college is a topic back in the policy discussion, in part because of proposals supported by 2020 presidential candidates. here is california democrat kamala harris. >> i am running to declare education is a fundamental right. applause]d >> and we will guarantee that right with universal pre-k and debt-free college. applause]d host: host: we are joined by jason delisle and mark salesman.
you, we will start with explain the differences when it comes to free college. there is debt-free college, tuition free college. do these things mean different things? yes they do. the major to station i make between the two is tuition free colleges somewhat self-explanatory and there are different ways you can design it, but tuition free basically says that by some mechanism, you are not going to pay tuition at a state to her four-year institution, whether that is a community college or a four-year school. debt-free is an interesting frame, because it takes into account the fact that tuition is of major and rising cost college, but it is not the only cost. people are taking on debt not just for tuition, but fees, books, living expenses, childcare, all the things you need to pay for when you are in school. so debt-free takes the frame that we are going to cover, or the government, whether that is the state, federal government,
or maybe an institution, will cover most of the cost of education beyond tuition as well. distinction i make between the two. host: and as that discussion is happening, some 20 states have their own free college programs. how do most of those states operate? are they the debt free model, tuition free model or a different model? guest: they are doing tuition free and mostly community college, so it is not a public, four-year university. it is public community colleges and it is tuition free. i'm sure we will get into some of the terminology here that the walks in d.c. are using around these things -- last dollar, meaning that you take all of your student aid that you get from various sources, apply it first to tuition. if there is anything left, the state or the locality will make that up and set your tuition at zero. it will pay off your living expenses. have been the
laboratories of democracy. as these programs have gone into effect in states, what have you found? who benefits the most from these various free college plans? guest: mainly because they are targeting community college right now, that is who is going to benefit. another thing to keep in mind, we have degenerate system of student aid in this country already. what a little bit ok, with the free label salt is you know how much you have to pay. but we have pell grant's from the federal government, scholarships, money from colleges themselves that they kick in through discounts -- so for lower income students, they are already paying pretty close to zero in terms of tuition. so not a big change for them here. it is for the more middle class and upper middle class students that are not getting this needs based student aid that will see the biggest change. a national there was
federal system, what would be your concerns about how the benefits are distributed? thet: the problem with national system, we have to have a one-size-fits-all, the federal government coming in and they generally think it has to be a matching plan. they would constrain public universities and states and the policies they enact, how much they can increase pay and funding. and ipretty complicated, actually think there are other concerns in terms of, ironically, tuition actually increases access for higher education. it allows universities to raise revenue and fund really good programs.and this would constrain them. all of their revenue would come from the government. host: mark is echoing the concerns jason brings up. guest: jason is right, the way we do financial aid in this country right now is incredibly ok. any parent who has been trying
to put their kids through college or put themselves understands the complexity of our financial aid system. you first have to decide you want to attend college, you have to vaguely know that the aid is out there, whether that is the pell grant or some state grant programs, and then you have to apply in the hope you can cobble together enough aid once we decide that your income is at a sufficient level. that has not generally worked in terms of making it so people one, understand what they are paying for college, number two, they understand their obligation after college in terms of debt. it has been pretty money in terms of college access and completion. what free college does -- i agree with jason that there are some policy design questions that make it more or less generous, but even the programs jason was talking about -- the programs that require you to fill out the financial aid form, the fafsa, then cobble together some other aid you are going to get and the state will kick in the rest -- those programs have
actually increased financial aid applications among low income students. ofnessee is an example, one the first states in the country -- well, recently one of the first states to reintroduce free college under a republican governor, and has what is considered a limited program in terms of the financial benefit for low income students. but they have seen a pretty major uptick in financial aid applications among those unions, more interest in community colleges, because it is a community college program, and they have seen more adult students enrolled. the galvanizing force of free, depending on how generous it is monetarily to people, should not be underestimated. host: we are having this discussion, but the phone lenders lit up differently this morning. if you are a college student or a parent of a college student, give us a call at (202) 748-8000 . all others can join the conversation at (202) 748-8001. are having this discussion until 9:30 this morning, so plenty of time to listen in and
call in. the other half of our discussion, along with free college, is the rising cost of higher education -- an interesting chart from one of your colleagues at the american enterprise and jude on college pricen as a change in over the course of 20 years. this chart is showing various different goods and services and wages, and now they have changed over 20 years, from 1927 to 2017. college education has gone up 1997. 200% since obviously, free college would lower the cost for individuals, but does free college do anything to rein in the rising cost of college tuition? to a certain extent it would. this is what i mentioned, colleges would not be able to raise revenue through tuition. i cannot stress enough how raising revenue through tuition is not necessarily a bad thing if you target it right. the chart that you just put up,
this is showing the sticker not segregatede, by income. we were talking about how we have lots of student aid in this country, but it is targeted to people based on their income. the tuition that low income people are paying is very low and has not increased as much as it has for higher income families. the you are seeing is universities using revenue to price to terminate. they are charging higher income families more -- this is where most of the anxiety, i think, is coming from. the upper, middle income, high income families are making the most noise. isst: the middle class generally making a lot of noise about college cost because it is a concern around the kitchen table and has been a number of years. incomet think low students are necessarily getting a good deal in terms of college prices. we know that people who received pell grant, upwards of $5,000 to
$6,000 are much more likely to borrow for college and those who did not receive these grants. that is because they might have a lower net tuition at the end of the day, but there are still all of these other costs they are facing while they are in school. 25% of all college students have children of their own. that is a double whammy of a financial burden that will increase -- that will increase your borrowing. low income students are definitely feeling the squeeze. we know the pell grant, when it was first designed, covered three quarters of the cost of college at a public institution. a third.vers less than a lot of that is because the price has been increasing, but we have also not made that commitment to low income students that we had in the past. host: both of our guests study higher education issues and research institutes and washington, d.c. jason delisle is with the research enterprise institute, and we are taking your calls this morning in a sour of the washington journal. tj is up in hampton, virginia.
go ahead. >> good morning. five of all, i have put children through college, and they work and i work. we did not take pell grant's or anything else. if you want an education, you can get one, but you are going to have to work for it and therefore you will not have huge bills when you do graduate. aren't going in for anything that we really need for the country. we need engineers, we need accountants, they are going in for the arts, which is an easy way to get through college. you are not going to get a job. what's the purpose in going? freelly believe in education for trade schools. because we need plumbers, we need a electrician's, we need air conditioning people.
those are more important than a college education. when i worked, i had people come into our business with a four-year college at a dry cleaners because they could not get a job anywhere after they got their degree. what a waste. host: what do you want to pick up on? n: well, this concern over, you know, do these degrees lead to good jobs and what are people earning? i think that is out there more than it has been in a long time. i think what you are seeing now in response to that, in a policy particularlyis, from federal policy makers but also on the state level, getting information out there on what graduates go on to earn within specific programs. might prevent some people making choices that don't lead to a good return on their investment.
i think a lot of anxieties are certainly fueling those kinds of solutions. mark: first of all, congratulations on putting five kids to school. that is no small feat. i want to pick up on two small things. at the end, it was mentioned that we need trades and all sort of mechanical jobs, jobs that cannot be outsourced. i think that is one of the potential all beautiful pieces of free community college if it is done right. we could have anyone who wants to get a two-year degree or a trade, work in a trade or retool if they are in the labor force, they could go to a community college, no questions asked, similar as to how we make everyone go through high school. that is the potential of free community college and i think people have this vision of a college student, they are an 18-year-old on campus, majoring in art history or something like that, but we know the vast majority of students are adult students that are returning to work. they have kids of their own and people are trying to get by in
the economy with some training and some skills. the last thing i will say, i will actually did and the art history degree and the liberal arts education. i think it gets a bad rap. i do not think we should be picking majors that we subsidize versus others, even if you look at broad economics, history majors have the same unemployment rate as math majors. electrical engineering people unemployment rate as political science majors. there is everything right with talking about the value of various majors, but howard schultz, who has been in the news recently, running for president, has a liberal arts degree. there are plenty of ceos with avril arts degrees, so i think it is ok. host: the phone lines for parents and students, (202) 748-8000. all others, (202) 748-8001. karen is apparent in virginia, good morning. t inaren is a paren
virginia, good morning. caller: i disagree with the first caller. i think it is important that students have a college degree. college set the tone for how you manage her life and responsibility, and when you can pay your house, and when you compare students to china and other countries, we have fallen significantly behind. i have had two kids that went through college, and the price is astronomical. what gets me is that although the institution has not changed, the courses haven't changed, the food and the housing hasn't changed -- i do not understand why the price of college went up 200%. i was appalled that the amount i was paying -- at the amount i was paying in books, and it was probably one book a student use 15 years ago. so why can this industry not be regulated? i understand inflation, teacher salary, and all of that.
what i don't understand is why does a semester in college have to cost you the cost of a car? that is unrealistic to me. thanks for the call. we want to show that chart one more times from the american enterprise in acute. -- institute. the cost of textbooks have risen higher than college tuition increase by nearly 200%. college textbooks, college tuition below it. some issue she brings up, new cars are not rising at the same rate, obviously, and other things like cell phones and toys are falling over the course of 20 years. jason: i want to get to something that the caller mentioned in the first part, where she was pushing back against this idea of steering students to one type of degree or another with government policy. i think that is actually -- i think her sentiment is right, that we don't want to go down that road. with thea real risk
anxiety around college costs that we say hey, we should have government loans or grants only for certain degrees. ourgreat thing about system, it has lots of choice, lots of different options. i don't think we want to go down the road of putting the government's thumb on the scale in where you should go and what you should study. host: scott in thomasville, georgia, a parent. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm not sure if you made this observation. number one, the only thing that has gone up more than college education is health care. if you think about government-subsidized health care along with government of the diet college education, we have to think, why is that happening? why are these two things out of sight? that is the first comment. the second comment is, nobody made the observation at all -- i live in the south, and college athletics is huge down here.
billion checking account for basketball and football nationally, and why are butenerating $10 billion colleges and universities still want more money? they want more money because people in business one more money, because they want more money. so i think so but he needs to say something about that. needs to say something about that. mark: a couple things on that. in terms of the cost of education going up, tremendously particularly in-state colleges. we have 50 different state systems in this country. jason is right, there is a lot of choice in the system, so there are a lot of reasons why different colleges are raising prices. if you take community colleges or regional four-year colleges for example, not the flagship institutions, those schools get a lot less money from state support than other colleges, and
the state support has been declining on a per student level over time. colleges can do one of a few things with that. they can raise tuition, which many have, they can cut services and moved to adjunct faculty, cut student services or defer or the klein maintenance, or attract wealthy, out-of-state students, attract international students, get residents some other way. but state universities have been seeing less revenue her student over time as demand has gone up. it is imperative on states and the federal government to match that with the investment necessary, and we have not necessarily been doing that. end, medical care costs are going up, but education is a labor-intensive industry. we need teachers, i.t., facilities and all of those things. it tends to be an expensive thing on its own.
some states and schools are trying to do things like have free textbooks or open resources to mitigate some of those costs, but it is an issue. host: coming up on 9:00 on the east coast. our discussion in this segment of the washington journal is on free college and the rising cost of college. you can join our discussion this morning. next week, we will have the state of the union address. i want to bring folks back to the state of the union address from 2015. here is president barack obama talking about his free college plans. end ofnt obama: by the this decade, two and three job openings will work or some kind of higher education, two out of three, but we still live in a country where students are priced out of the education they need. it is not fair to them and it is sure not marked for our future. that is why i am sending this congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero. [applause]
president obama: keep in mind, 40% of our college students choose community college. some are young and starting out. some are older and looking for a better job. some are veterans or single parents, trying to transition back into the job market. whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy without a load of debt. understand, you got to earn it. you have to keep your grades up and graduate on time. tennessee, a state with republican leadership, and chicago, the city with democratic leadership, are showing that free community college as possible -- college is possible.
i want to spread that all across america, that two years of college becomes as free and universal across america as high school is today. [applause] host: jason delisle of the american enterprise in acute, what did you think -- american enterprise institute, what did you think when the plan was announced? jason: a number of reactions. first of all, a bunch of rings are attached. if state want to take this federal money and matching grant, they have to abide by rules that congress is going to set for them. i'm not sure we want to centralize our higher education level.at the federal president obama also mentioned, you will leave school without debt. but that does not make sense in this case. he was talking just about tuition. that is a good point to come back to, they are talking about tuition and not living expenses. almost all of the debt people are incurring from going to community colleges from borrowing for their living expenses. this is not going to change that.
and i would not say borrowing to pursue a degree is bad, but i think people are going to hear oh, debt-free or free college, and they will be disappointed when they find out that is not actually the case. this tork, how close is what we know is being announced by some of the 2020 democratic presidential candidates? mark: the first thing back about the plan in 2015, it is the notion that people generally agree with, that when we invest in our people and invest in our workforce and training systems, we get a lot back. it is an acknowledgment of that, as the president said in that believeat most people they will have to get some form of postsecondary education, whether it is a two or four year degree, to get the lowest rungs of the middle-class class and economic ladder. i think jason is right, that the free community college programs, as designs -- president obama's
was more generous than what is being offered in states, it takes financially off the table and allow people to borrow for living expenses. federal is what the government can do in this case. we have seen states experiment with good results in free college around the country, and the government can kick in some extra money and allow you to not have to borrow to fulfill the promise of debt-free over tuition free. host: william in tennessee, good morning. i am welcoming -- thank you for joining us. if i could ask you to please make sure your phones are on mute, feel free to tweak as much as you like but make no noise about it. delighted that we can meet at a time when the federal governmes